published Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Mother charged in heat deaths of Bradley County boys

Leland Bates, 5, and River Bates, 3
Leland Bates, 5, and River Bates, 3
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The mother of the two Bradley County boys who died from hyperthermia last month was arrested and charged with two counts of felony murder Wednesday night.

Natasha Mach'e Moses Bates, 26, was indicted by a grand jury after Bradley County Sheriff's Office detectives found reason to believe her sons died in a car, sheriff's spokesman Bob Gault said. An autopsy found the cause of death as hyperthermia, a condition that results from an extremely high core body temperature.

Bates is also charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse/endangerment, four counts of initiation of manufacture of methamphetamine and one count of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture.

Gault said the drug charges stemmed from a July 13 search of her home, when Bradley County sheriff's deputies teamed up with the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force for a two- to three-hour search.

The brothers, River Bates, 3, and Leland Bates, 5, died after their core temperatures soared to above 105 degrees on June 28. Moses told investigators she left her sons alone on a Slip 'n Slide for 45 minutes. She said she found the boys unresponsive and called 911 from her father's house, about a mile away.

River was transported to Skyridge Medical Center and was pronounced dead within 45 minutes of his mother's first 911 call. Leland Bates died the following day at Erlanger hospital.

Since that day, many questions surrounded the boys' deaths. Their father, Jonathan Bates, said on July 8 that Tasha had barely looked him in the eye since the incident. He said he asked her what happened that day, and all she said was, "I don't know."

Bates is being held at the Bradley County Jail without bond until her arraignment in Criminal Court on Aug. 13.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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